In the February 2021 survey we received responses from 1,204,252,411 sites across 263,042,054 unique domains and 10,766,606 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 6,270,052 sites, 92,829 domains, and 116,789 computers.
nginx is top of the charts when it comes to total count of sites as well as number of unique domains and web-facing computers. 34.5% of all sites run on nginx, 30.4% of domains, and 35.0% of web-facing computers. Apache comes in at seconds place in these metrics, with a 26.3% market share of sites, a similar 26.4% share of domains, and 32.7% of web-facing computers.
In terms of domains, OpenResty and Cloudflare come in at third and fourth place to make up an additional 14.4% and 7.1% of the market respectively. OpenResty is a web application server that is built upon the technology of nginx, but, strictly speaking, is not an nginx fork. Cloudflare historically based their server stack around nginx, but transitioned towards using more in-house developed technologies over time. As of this month, these web server vendors are tracked individually in the monthly Web Server Survey charts.
Although nginx leads the wider market, Apache still has a small lead when it comes to the top one million busiest sites, with a 25.6% market share – 2.4pp ahead of nginx. Apache increased its share of the top million by 0.54pp in February. Although OpenResty takes a sizable chunk of the wider market, it is not nearly as common amongst the top million, taking only a 1.6% share. This disparity can be explained through GoDaddy’s extensive use of OpenResty for domain parking.
Apache also holds a more significant lead in terms of Netcraft’s active sites metric, which favours sites with unique content. Apache serves 25.5% of active sites, whereas nginx serves 19.8%. Google accounts for a reasonably large 9.9% share of active sites, owing to its popular Blogger service.
Microsoft’s server software market share remains in decline. Microsoft’s figures took a significant drop in 2020 in favour of OpenResty, and Microsoft now only has 6.5% (-1.0pp) of the site market and 6.0% (-0.3pp) of domains as of February 2021. OpenResty also looks set to overtake Microsoft as the third largest vendor in terms of sites and active sites.
Other vendor and hosting news
Nginx has pushed out its first product updates for 2021 – nginx version 1.19.7 and NGINX Unit 1.22.0. Lighttpd also released version 1.4.59 of its web server, which now enables HTTP version 2 by default.
|Developer||January 2021||Percent||February 2021||Percent||Change|
|2||New York Internet (NYI)||FreeBSD||0:00:00||0.000||0.545||0.060||0.118||0.118|
|7||CWCS Managed Hosting||Linux||0:00:00||0.005||0.317||0.082||0.163||0.163|
|10||Hyve Managed Hosting||Linux||0:00:00||0.010||0.160||0.076||0.151||0.151|
Rackspace kicked off 2021 with the most reliable hosting company site in January. The top five hosting company sites each responded to all of Netcraft’s requests in January and were separated by average connection time. Rackspace offers a variety of cloud hosting solutions from 40 data centres across five different continents in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.
The podium is completed by New York Internet (NYI) and EveryCity. NYI offers bare metal, cloud and colocation services from its four data centres in the US. UK-based EveryCity provides cloud hosting solutions and managed third-party services from its primary data centre located in the heart of London.
ServerStack and dinahosting also responded to all of Netcraft’s requests in January. ServerStack maintains its place in the top 10 and has now appeared 11 times in the past 12 months, more than any other hosting company site. ServerStack provides managed and dedicated solutions from its three data centres in North America and Europe. dinahosting offers its services from Interxion, in Madrid, and customers can choose from a range of cloud and managed solutions as well as register domain names.
FreeBSD appeared in second place in January with NYI and SmartOS appeared in third place with EveryCity. Linux was used by the other eight sites in the top 10.
In the January 2021 survey we received responses from 1,197,982,359 sites across 262,949,225 unique domains and 10,649,817 web-facing computers. This reflects a gain of 95,900 computers, but a loss of 30.13 million sites and 465,000 domains.
Apache, nginx and Microsoft all lost sites this month. Apache suffered the largest losses with 16.4 million fewer sites, a significant number of which came from a single hosting provider, Enzu. This was followed by nginx which lost 11.9 million sites and Microsoft which lost 7.8 million, both seeing losses across a number of hosting providers. nginx continues to lead in market share with 33.3% (-0.15 pp), ahead of Apache at 26.4% (-0.7 pp).
The number of domains powered by these web servers also fell this month. Microsoft observed the largest drop of 2.2 million domains, while nginx and Apache lost 903,000 and 303,000. This resulted in a small loss of market share for all three, the largest drop being seen by Microsoft which fell 0.8 percentage points to 6.3%. nginx dropped 0.3 percentage points of domain market share, though still powers 30% of all domains. The majority of the domains lost by these largest web server vendors remain in the survey, with individual hosting providers switching large numbers to other server vendors. One such movement involved around 1.2 million domains hosted by Cogeco Cable Canada that previously identified as nginx but now respond with a DOSarrest server banner.
Despite these losses, the total number of web-facing computers for both Apache and nginx grew this month. nginx gained 68,000 computers, increasing its market share by 0.3 percentage points to 34.7%, while Apache’s small gain of 6,200 resulted in a slight drop in market share to 33% (-0.2 pp).
Although both only have a small amount of web-facing computer market share, LiteSpeed and OpenResty both saw good relative growth this month. LiteSpeed gained 3,400 computers (+7.7% compared to last month) and OpenResty gained 5,700 computers (+6.8%).
The number of the top million sites powered by Apache, Microsoft and LiteSpeed all grew this month. Apache observed the highest growth with 4,043 sites, increasing its market share to 25% (+0.4 pp) and maintaining its lead over nginx which lost 105 sites this month. LiteSpeed gained 1,700 new sites, an increase of 9.4% over December.
Other vendor and hosting news
- Lighttpd 1.4.58 was released on 27 December, after the release of 1.4.57 on 17 December. These updates include a number of bug fixes.
- Microsoft Azure added support for Availability Zones in its South Central US datacenter region. Availability zones are multiple interconnected data centers within the same region, providing resiliency in the event of a data center outage. This addition means that Microsoft now has 15 public Azure regions with Availability Zones.
- A number of Google services suffered from a partial outage on 14 December, caused by a failure of Google’s authentication service. As well as affecting a number of Google services such as Gmail and YouTube, the issue also prevented users from authenticating to the Google Cloud Console and managing their infrastructure. Google Cloud Platform services themselves were largely unaffected by the outage.
|Developer||December 2020||Percent||January 2021||Percent||Change|
|6||New York Internet (NYI)||FreeBSD||0:00:00||0.005||0.556||0.058||0.116||0.116|
|7||Hyve Managed Hosting||Linux||0:00:00||0.005||0.181||0.077||0.153||0.153|
|8||CWCS Managed Hosting||Linux||0:00:00||0.005||0.338||0.082||0.166||0.166|
Choopa.com finished 2020 as the most reliable hosting company site in December, with no failed requests and the fastest average connection time. Choopa.com topped the table four times in 2020, more than any other hosting company site, and made a total of eight appearances in the top 10. The hosting provider offers cloud hosting, dedicated hosting and colocation in its own primary facility in Piscataway, New Jersey as well as smaller facilities in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Tokyo.
In the December 2020 survey we received responses from 1,228,111,563 sites across 263,413,876 unique domains and 10,553,965 web-facing computers. The reflects a loss of 1.84 million sites, 374,000 domains, and 10,600 computers.
Overall, nginx lost the largest number of sites this month (-3.15 million), while Apache gained most (3.04 million); yet in terms of active sites, nginx gained 411,000, while Apache gained only 100,000.
Microsoft, Apache and nginx each suffered losses in their total number of domains, although nginx's loss was small enough that its market share increased slightly. 30.3% of the world's domains are now powered by nginx, compared with 26.4% powered by Apache. Despite losses affecting each major webserver vendor, the causes were independent in each case; for example nginx’s 34,000 loss resulting from a drop of 387,000 domains at Freenom.
OpenResty is continuing to show strong growth, with GoDaddy's use of the web server for its parked domains. It now powers 71.3 million sites across 36.9 million domains and 84,680 web-facing computers.
The number of web-facing computers running nginx, Apache and Microsoft web server software also fell this month. The largest loss was 38,600 web-facing computers for nginx, which took its total down to 3.63 million and its share down by 0.33 percentage points to 34.4%, leaving it just over one percentage point ahead of Apache. Microsoft lost 14,700 computers, while Apache lost 5,820.
Improvements to the million busiest sites methodology has resulted in a number of market share movements. The biggest drop was seen for Apache, with its share down by 4.3 percentage points. Although it continues to lead this market with a share of 24.6%, nginx is now much closer behind with a 23.2% share of the top million, despite also experiencing a drop, and losing 2.0 percentage points. Cloudflare experienced the largest increase, up 1.4 percentage points to reach a 15.2% market share.
Other vendor and hosting news
- The first release candidate of Caddy 2.3 was announced on 12 December.
- nginx 1.19.6 mainline was released on 15 December. This version includes four bugfixes, including one for a bug that was introduced in the previous release, where a segmentation fault could have occurred when HTTPS was used.
- Apache Tomcat 7.0.107 was released on 23 November, followed by the releases of Tomcat 8.5.61, 9.0.41 and 10.0.0 (beta) on 8 December.
- OpenLiteSpeed 1.7.7 was released on 9 December.
- Microsoft has added new capabilities to its Azure Government cloud, expanded its Azure Government Secret cloud, and announced a new Azure Government Top Secret cloud to handle top secret classified data.
|Developer||November 2020||Percent||December 2020||Percent||Change|
|1||New York Internet (NYI)||FreeBSD||0:00:00||0.000||0.536||0.058||0.115||0.116|
|3||Hyve Managed Hosting||Linux||0:00:00||0.000||0.171||0.075||0.149||0.149|
|10||CWCS Managed Hosting||Linux||0:00:00||0.005||0.330||0.080||0.161||0.161|
The most reliable hosting company site in November 2020 was New York Internet (NYI), which responded to all of Netcraft’s requests in November. NYI offers a comprehensive set of hybrid IT solutions across cloud, multi-cloud, colocation and bare metal in its US data centres. So far in 2020, NYI has appeared seven times in the top 10.
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